How to get relief from TMJ disorder at your Manhattan Beach dentist
As many as 15 percent of adults have temporomandibular joint disorder (also called TMJ or TMD), an uncomfortable condition that occurs when the joints that attach your jaw to your skull become out of line or don’t function optimally. If you are wondering how to get relief from TMJ disorder, you will find expert care and several effective treatment options at Manhattan Beach Dental Solutions in Manhattan Beach, CA.
TMJ disorder explained
While your jaw may seem like it has simple biomechanics – opening and closing – it is actually reliant upon one of the most complex joints in the body. The temporomandibular joints on each side of the skull play a critical role in helping you to open and close your mouth comfortably, as well as moving the mouth from side to side and back to front. In some people, the TMJs misaligned or damaged, which can cause an array of negative symptoms such as:
- Clicking, popping, or grinding sounds when you chew
- Pain in your jaw or the joint itself
- Pain while you are chewing food
- Stiff muscles in your face or jaw
- The feeling that your bite is off
It’s not always possible to determine what caused TMJ disorder to occur in a patient, but it can occur when cartilage in the joint moves out of its normal location or from traumatic injury (such as dislocating your jaw), arthritis, tooth grinding, or a misaligned bite.
Diagnosing and treating TMJ disorder
An important first step in finding relief from TMD is making sure that is what you have and that a different dental issue is not causing your pain. If you do have TMD, then there are several conservative, easy treatment options that you can try. These include using over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce your pain while we work on healing the TMJs, using hot and cold therapy to reduce inflammation, and giving the TMJs a break by temporarily eating softer foods and limiting how much you move your jaw. Daily exercises to strengthen the joint can also help the healing process.
Making changes to some of your habits can also help with TMJ symptoms. If you chew on hard items such as your nails, pencils, or ice, this may be exacerbating the issue. Chewing gum regularly may also be stressing the joints. Sometimes, stress exacerbates TMJ disorder, so learning relaxation techniques and ways to manage your stress can not only help you feel calmer but also provide relief from your pain.
If these simpler remedies do not work, don’t despair! There are many other treatment options that can often resolve more advanced cases of TMJ disorder. Depending on your specific needs and the root cause of your issues, treatments that we recommend may include:
- Muscle relaxers
- Prescription pain medications
- A custom-fitted nightguard to help protect your teeth and stop grinding and clenching
- Orthodontics such as Invisalign, braces, or other appliances to fix a bite problem
- Other dental work to change your bite, such as reshaping your teeth or replacing worn-out crowns or bridges
- Anti-inflammatory injections into the joint to minimize inflammation and reduce pain
- Laser therapy, which uses infrared light to reduce the pain in the joint
In some advanced cases, surgical therapy such as an arthrocentesis, which is used to clean out scar tissue from the joint, may be necessary. Surgery can also be used to correct structural problems with the joint that other treatments cannot fix.
Get the answers you need and the effective TMJ/TMD treatment you deserve at Manhattan Beach Dental Solutions. Call(310) 340-6663
Get the relief you need
If you have been suffering from symptoms that could be due to TMJ disorder, the path towards relief is just a phone call away. At Manhattan Beach Dental Solutions, our dentist has the expertise and skill needed to effectively evaluate your mouth and provide treatments that really work for your individual needs. After listening to your symptoms and medical history to better understand your issue, we will perform a comprehensive evaluation of your jaw to determine whether there is inflammation in the joint, as well as test your range of motion and look for other signs of TMD. We may also use imaging to get a closer look at what’s happening inside your jaw. Whether you have TMJ disorder or another issue causing your symptoms, we can provide you with treatment options so you can find relief from your pain. Call our Manhattan Beach, CA office today at (310) 340-6663 to schedule your consultation!
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